Construction contracts for GM's new Flint, MI engine plant have been canceled, but GM tells us plans to build the new 1.4-liter four-banger powering the Chevy Volt and Cruze in Flint remain unchanged.
Despite reports to the contrary, and despite construction contracts being canceled by GM, spokesperson Sharon Basel told us via e-mail the General's committed to building their new 1.4-liter engine for the Chevy Volt and the turbo version for the Chevy Cruze (above) in Flint:
"Our plans to build the 1.4L Family 0 engine for the Volt and Cruze in Flint have not changed. In December we announced we would delay construction of a new plant. At that time we made decisions necessary to conserve capital. We continue to hold our timing, but yesterday it was necessary to make decisions on related construction contracts so we wouldn't incur any additional costs."
Additionally, Basel told the Flint News GM was examining all options — including using existing buildings on site.
Our take is GM's looking to cut every short-term cost possible as they try to buy time until a federal solution arises to the Carpocalypse. For the moment, the most pressing vehicle to bring to market is the Chevy Volt. Given the initial low volume, GM will import 1.4-liter engines...err..range extenders from their European plant. The Chevy Cruze has been pushed off a year, so the need for the Flint engine plant to be built right now doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Thus the delay announced late last year.
However, Flint should expect without further federal funds — or a pre-packaged bankruptcy of some sort — they won't be seeing that plant anytime soon.